One thing I adore about my college friends is their adventurous nature. There’s no dull moment whenever I’m with them. They can always awaken that dormant humor in me or expel that spoilsport from me. But when it comes to outdoor adventures or anything that requires strenuous activities, I take the lead.
I was the first to get out from the water when Melo reminded us of the next activity in our itinerary: hiking. That’s one of the most motivational words in my dictionary. I take every chance to exercise so I was so glad when my super travel buddies and Ms. Wonderwall followed what I did and showed enthusiasm for hiking. We’re already on our early 30s. Opportunities for us to exercise should be a priority.
We immediately took a shower in an open area of the island where a bucket of water is equivalent to five pesos. Our bodies were just too hungry for adventures that we didn’t even feel hungry after swimming. After changing our clothes to something less revealing, we waited for the Exsagged Team (CJ, Algend, Liz, Rosh, Tayshaun, Harry, yours truly, & Cy) and Calaguas Island Tours and Packages by Anthony’s Travel and Island Tours‘ (Lisa, Anthony, Melo, & Jiero) to be in complete attendance. At that point, I couldn’t contain my excitement to hike the nearby hill, which loftily stands towards the northern end of Calaguas Island when directly facing Mahabang Buhangin. After a couple of minutes, I began counting heads. It’s a standard operating procedure I learned from my mentors during mountaineering days. There were 12 of us who enthusiastically went on an extended walk for exercise and pleasure—to witness the most supernal nature feat in my book: sunset.
When I asked Lisa about the name of the hill, she told me the hill has no name or that there’s one circulating yet. She enthused, “I’ll call it Tralala for now.” Then everybody laughed.
On our way up to the hill, we felt so delighted to see cows grazing on verdant herbage. Such is an amusement for city dwellers who only get to appreciate simple things when in a rural area. I also grew up looking at cows grazing in our neighbor’s backyard almost every day yet I was completely one with my urban, college friends at that moment. I guess my immersion in the city for more than a decade now has taken its toll. Nonetheless, the good thing that comes out of it is my now urbanized life enables me to see value and beauty in the mundane. The wide and open extent of healthy trees was also noticeable.
A few minutes later, the trees gave way to a glade—which opened a better view of the beach and the rest of the islands—and eventually to the hill’s crest. It was just past five o’clock in the afternoon by that time. The sky was still clear.
Below the cliff is an aerial view of Tinaga Island’s beach that is equally picturesque as Calaguas’.
That moment reminded me of my Bagolatao hiking experience because that was how I and Ms. Wonderwall wrapped our summer escapade’s first day at White Pebbles Beach Resort in the summer of 2015. We also hiked the nearby hill to catch the sunset and to frame the circumambient view of Bagolatao shoreline (“Bagolatao Trilogy’s Part 1: Basking in the Natural Scenery“).
When I was at that vantage point where I saw the ever captivating view of the horizon showing the sky kissing the sea, I suddenly felt nostalgic.
The tear duct of my optical organs silently broke for the feelings I came to crave after my first summit experience. The overwhelming silence (“The Playground Of Demigods And Nephilims: Tarak Ridge“). The exquisite feeling of amazement when you see the world at a higher level. The exhilaration of being able to walk miles away from the mountain’s foot (“Why Do I Love Mountain Climbing?“). The thrill of holding on for your life that made me realize how alive I can be when I’m at the brink of losing it (“Embraced By The Labyrinth’s Trail Of Mount Marami“). The happiness of carrying an eighty-liter backpack, which contains my vittles and camping gear, for hours (“Tirad Pass’ Historical Trails in Ilocos Sur“). The chance of meeting people from different walks of life and become friends with them (“Mount Maculot’s Irony“). The acts that cut life down to the basics: get up, move, eat, sleep, get down (“Weekly Photo Challenge: Simple“). The life lessons that only the mountains can teach (“Where The Four Great Amputees And Mountains Led Me” and “To The Mountains”). And, of course, that chance to witness the sun setting at that thin silver or golden lines shooting across the horizon.
In all my travels, specifically nature trips, I consider watching the sunset the ultimate experience. Standing on the edge of the hill’s crest at that incredible moment made me feel I’m indeed part of one of the most spectacular sights in the Universe—of something important.
Once again, I was stunned at how the unique harmony of colors starts to seep through the rustic sky of Calaguas Islands. While I was marveling at the sunset, I realized just how it mirrors life’s cycle of duality. The sun must create a space and time for darkness. Think of the hard times and the good times or the dark tunnel and the light at the end of it. Funny how natural wonders like this make us realize how, without a doubt, connected we are to nature.
I read an article about sunset on highexistence.com a few months ago. Based on the article, the beauty of sunset is something that the painters have been trying to capture, the poets have been trying to describe, and the scientists have been trying to measure.
I agree. Looking at it deeper, there’s really no description or measure that can truly capture the sunset’s mysterious majesty but only a few words can express its beauty. At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to grasp that beauty and truth, which is held within a sunset.
The main reasons why we took this Calaguas Tour were to recharge our batteries, disconnect from the hurly-burly of our urban lives, to catch the sunset up a hill, to be reunited after four years, and to celebrate the milestone of our friendship. It’s been 16 years since we became friends. Now that we’ve successfully passed the seven-year expiry date on friendships, friends should be definitely changed to “super friends or travel buddies”. There was no better way to commemorate that milestone than to have the sunset as witness. Here’s to our 16th year, to never growing old, and to our unconditional love, mga Parekoy!
We all descended with big smiles on our faces, and we ended the day by standing again on the beach, gazing out over the ocean to the golden horizon.
“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart” (Elisabeth Foley).
Sunset in Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte (eaglenews.ph)
The Traveling Panda: Calaguas Island: Travel Guide (mikelaagan.com)
Photo of the Day: Sunrise at Calaguas Island (visitpinas.com)